Album Review – Great Apes, California Heart

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Great Apes

California Heart - Asian Man Records

California Heart is the second full length, and sixth release in total, from San Francisco’s Great Apes, at it’s punky power pop heart lies a concept album, but don’t let that put you off as this really is a damn fine album. Never mind that the album revolves around tales of an alienated adolescent in California, or that the subject matter includes subjects such as mental illness, bullying, drugs and suicide, as this is an upbeat and hopeful album, and it is one which I find hard to find any fault with.

The album opens with an energetic slab of power pop that features epic guitar hooks and impassioned vocals, and the first half dozen songs are all in this mould and I adore every one of them, but this is very much an album of two distinct parts. The initial six perfect punk influenced tracks are all as good as each other, but like adolescence itself, the album has a series of distinct mood swings. The final four tracks reflect change and different influences, from the slower anguished howl of Chukchansi’s Complacency For Beginners, through the hardcore rage of Prom Com through to the final triumphant track, The Escapist, they all reflect different facets of the fictional character. These variations ins style add to the album’s appeal, rather than detracting from the earlier half dozen tracks of perfect power pop.

California Heart is an anthemic coming of age record, anyone who’s been an outsider on the fringes of society will identify with this album, and as this is The Punk Site I’m guessing that would be most of the people reading this. Although California Heart is a fictional work I can’t help but help but feel that it is inspired by personal experiences. Anyone who’s ever grown up in a place they wanted to get the fuck out of as soon as they were able to will be able to relate to the subject matter. If you are fortunate enough to not be able to relate to the lyrical content then just sit back and enjoy one of the best albums of the year, despite the subject matter this an uplifting, hopeful and if I’m honest a pretty much perfect album that is amongst my favourite albums of 2016.

Great Apes web presence, where you can purchase and stream their back catalogue, is here

California Heart can be purchased on coloured vinyl via Asian Man Recordshere